Tips for organizing plastic storageware (i.e. Tupperware, Rubbermaid) from out ThriftyFun community.
We have a dishpan that we keep all of our lids in. We haven't really figured out a way to organize all the bowls/containers themselves, but it does help keep the lids well organized. We store them sitting up on the lid edge, so that we have them in rows sitting in the dishpan, which we keep in a cupboard.
I stack all my Tupperware together, then all the Rubbermaid, and other brands, i.e. Zip-Loc and Glad Loc. I keep lids for each specific brand in its own basket. This really helps when looking for a lid. You don't have to dig through all of them to find the right one, just the ones of that specific brand.
Put all the same shaped items together. Put round containers all nested together, without lids, square containers all nested together, large ones with smaller ones inside and so on and so on. Do the same with the lids. It will be easy to find the lid for the container if all the square lids are sorted and lined up together, small to large. They will nest a bit too, saving room. All Tupperware and similar items should not be stored with lids on, it takes too much room and may trap odors.
I have huge pot for lobsters under one of my cabinets. I throw all my tupperware in there with the lids on and it works for us. Tupperware also sells lid holders that are great for holding tupperware lids and you can stack the containers in each other.
One way to keep your lids in one place is to use a cereal box or anything similar. Measure 5-6 inches from the bottom, now cut on a diagonal to the top corner, do same on other side so both sides match. Now place lids in by letter, tupperware uses a lettering system. If you look under the bowl, there is a letter (ie: cereal bowl is a "C" bowl, so there is a "C" on the tab) lid fits on it. etc. You could decorate the boxes to match the kitchen, I use them to keep my crafts magazines in order, soft covered cookbooks, and I used leftover wallpaper to cover the boxes.
Several people I know have designed their kitchen cabinets to include large deep drawers for their Tupperware. Although I hope to someday do this as well, until then, I am considering using a Rubbermaid and storing it at the bottom of my pantry.
Have you ever thought that if you have a cupboard full to bursting with plastic containers, you may have too many? I would think the first thing would be to consider your needs. What do you use these containers for and how many do you have in use at any one time?
If you use them for leftovers, lunches and dry goods storage, most of these containers should be in continuous use, therefore not cluttering up a cupboard most of the time. If you only use some of them intermittently (e.g. in autumn for freezing produce), do they need to be stored in a kitchen cupboard? Box and label "autumn freezing containers" or whatever and store somewhere else. Are there any containers you never use - get rid of them. Are there any stained ones, one's with missing lids or bottoms, warped ones - get rid of them.
When you have weeded out the extras store lids, graduated from small to large, in lidded plastic container(s) and bottoms 'nesting' in each other in another plastic container(s). This keeps them dustfree and makes wiping out the cupboard shelves much easier - you don't have to remove every container individually. When you need a container you can take out the whole boxful and search for it at work top height - saves poking around in the back of the cupboard.
I keep the round containers on one side of the cupboard, and the square/irregular-shaped containers on the other side, smallest in front, most frequently used on the shelf that's best within easy reach. For each side, in a large ziplock bag for each shape, I store the lids, round in one baggie, square in the other. The lids that won't fit, along with the baggies themselves, are stacked between the round and square areas/middle of my cupboard.
It helps to put the container away in the same area after unloading the dishwasher, instead of cramming them in the cupboard to "sort out later."
Also I try to store the containers upside down, which looks funny in the cupboard, but it's in case any dust settles or the dishes aren't quite dry, etc. It all drains off the containers or doesn't affect the inside of the containers where the food actually goes.
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I do have a lot of Tupperware... but I also do a lot of do-ahead meal preparation and freezing of leftovers. I have a cabinet just for my Tupperware...
I just sent all my old plastic microwave containers to the thrift store, and replaced them with plastic containers from the Dollar Tree store. I bought 5 sizes...large rectangular, medium round, small round, medium square and small square. This seems to take care of all my needs. I freeze leftovers in them to reheat for another meal. They stack nicely in the freezer, and I store mine in my corner lazy susan cabinet. The thing I like about the ones from the Dollar Tree (Glad are about the same) is that I can stack each size 6 high, and stack all six lids on the top of the stack. They take very little room this way. And I can stack the small ones on top of the medium ones of the same shape. Sure has saved me a lot of space, plus all the time that I used to spend finding the lid to match the container I had just filled. And having them all slide out to meet me when I turned the lazy susan to retrieve one.
Harlean from Arkansas
I only buy the cheap Gladware, from the Dollar store, because my husband loves to melt my Tupperware in the microwave. I have a deep drawer that I keep my Gladware containers in, I put all the lids onto the containers and then stack them in the drawer; that way, my husband, who can't match a lid to a container for some reason, already has a complete set when he pulls them from the drawer.
I've spent much of the weekend cleaning and organizing my kitchen cupboards. We just replaced our chest freezer in the garage with an upright one. I kept the freezer baskets, which are deep and rectangular shaped. The leftover shelf paper was just the right width to weave through the wires of the freezer baskets, and they fit just right in my large lower corner cabinets. In one basket I stacked the microwavable tupperware bowls on one end, and on the other end I lined the pop-up lids upright that go with the bowls. The shelf paper keeps the lids from falling out the sides of the wire basket. I did the same with the other basket using stackable tupperware storage bowls and containers on one side and the corresponding lids on the other side of the basket. All I will have to do when I need a particular tupperware item is pull the basket instead of going through the stacks of tupperware. The larger pieces, like the wonderlier bowls, I stacked on the shelf in groups with lids under them, and one lid on top bowl to keep clean. The round lids like the basketball sized one I stacked in a tall layer cake tupperware container with cover. Rarely use it for cake, so in the meantime this keeps my lids neat and in one place. Found a neat way to use a pretty red pie carrier with white cover, and that is to stack paper plates in it. Saves on cupboard space in two ways, because it looks nice sittiing on the white tile countertop... don't have to find a spot in the cupboards for that or the paper plates.
What I did was I bought three different sized baskets with flip lids. I have small medium and large. I put all of the containers stacked inside one another in the large and the lids in the medium. For the small, there was enough room for both the small little containers and their lids.
It keeps them hidden too so it doesn't look such a mess. Yet my problem then is that I'm guilty for taking everything out of each to find the matching container and lid. Then it never gets back in where the lid closes properly again. HAha
Maybe some part of this post could help you with organizing your tupperware though. I thought the basket thing was a good idea. :):)
FYI, I'd recommend not freezing or heating foods in plastic Tupperware as this has been shown to cause the leaching of plastic molecules into the food. This would go for waterbottles as well. I use plastic Tupperware for room temperature or cold foods and small glass containers with rubber lids (Pyrex or Anchor brand) for foods that are going to be heated or frozen. The glass containers also resist staining much more. If you're in doubt, there are a number of studies on the internet you could locate.
I have cleaned out literally every closet and cabinet in my home this summer--no kidding. The only way I can organize my plastic ware is to keep only a few sizes that will stack inside each other. By only keeping a few sizes, the ones I use the most, I can tower them and take up less cabinet space. I also use the rubbermaid type containers so that I can stack the lids under or directly on top of the container stacks, this way I can easily find both when needed. Every few months I purge odd pieces that have no known owners and put them into my recycling or goodwill/garage sale stash. This I've found is the only way to really organize in my very small kitchen. I also try to buy the decorative Holiday containers in the same sizes so after sending goodies to my friends, I can re-use the extras in my own kitchen.
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